Worldly Life of Maryam bint ‘Imran and Her Son ‘Eesa

  • Publish date:29/12/2016
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{And We made her and her son a sign for the worlds.}

The worldly life of the Spirit and Word of Allah Almighty and His last Messenger to the children of Israel, ‘Eesa ibn Maryam, and his mother Maryam bint ‘Imran, may Allah exalt their mention, was an ongoing series of afflictions and trials. Their worldly life was an example of asceticism and abstention from Worldly pleasures and aspiration for what is with Allah, the Exalted.

As for Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, Allah Almighty chose her and preferred her over all the women of the earth. In the Quran, He, the Almighty, says (what means): {And [mention] when the angels said: "O Maryam, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the Worlds.} [Quran 3:42]

Also, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was reported to have said: "Many amongst men reached perfection, but none amongst the women reached this level, except Maryam bint ‘Imran, Khaadeejah bint Khuwaylid, …"

She was born a female while her mother wished for a male baby:

The first test concerning Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, was that her mother, who had wished that she would be given a boy so that she could devote him to the service of Baitul-Maqdis (i.e.The Temple of Jerusalem), was given a girl instead; and a girl cannot do the service work in the mosque, as men do. So, the mother of Maryam felt sorry and apologized to her Almighty Lord. She is quoted in the Quran as saying (what means): {"My Lord, I have delivered a female." And Allah was Most Knowing of what she delivered, "And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Maryam, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah]."} [Quran 3:36] She fulfilled the vow she had made to Allah Almighty when she said (what means): {"My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service].} [Quran 3:35] The vow had to be fulfilled.

Allah Almighty accepted this vow and made it blessed. No other vow has ever been known to be more blessed than this one, which produced the best woman among mankind and a Messenger from the Messengers of strong resolution, whose birth, life, ascension to the heaven, descent to the earth by the end of the world, as well as the miracles produced through him, were a great sign of Allah, the Exalted. So, is there any vow that could be greater than this one?

The orphan Maryam in the House of Allah:

Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, was born as an orphan. Allah Almighty provided her with shelter at the house of her aunt's husband, Prophet Zakariyya (i.e. Zechariah), may Allah exalt his mention. As is known, an aunt is like a mother.

This happened out of the mercy and the care of Allah Almighty toward Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention. In the Quran, He, the Almighty, says (what means): {So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zakariyya.} [Quran 3:37]

As Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, grew up, the mosque was her house, in which she would seclude herself. Out of His kindness to her, Allah, the Exalted, would let food come to her without apparent means. Each time her aunt's husband visited her, he would find provision with her. As he was the one who was responsible for supporting her, he wondered at how this provision came to her while he did not bring it himself!

As revealed in the Quran, Zakariyya, may Allah exalt his mention, said to her: {"O Maryam, from where is this [coming] to you?"} [Quran 3:37] In reply, she said: {"It is from Allah.

Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account."} [Quran 3:37] She was not in a paradise that preceded the Paradise of the hereafter; rather, this was subsistence which Allah, the Exalted, grants to His close servants and with which He honors those who obey Him when they suffer difficulty and hardship. This also serves as a reminder that Allah Almighty does not fail His pious servants. Another example is what the Almighty Lord did to Hajar and her son Isma‘eel (i.e. Ishmael), may Allah exalt their mention. He caused the spring of Zamzam to gush out when Prophet Ibrahim (i.e. Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention, left them in that desolate place.

Another example is what the Almighty Lord did to Khubayb ibn ‘Adiyy, may Allah be pleased with him, the Companion of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) who was seized by the people of Mecca to be killed. As he was in custody, they saw a cluster of grapes in his hand, from which he was eating, while Mecca had no grapes whatsoever and it was not the season of grapes. Giving food to the pious and close servants of Allah Almighty without apparent worldly means is one of the signs of His kindness to them and a means for revealing His miracles to them. How often water issued from between the fingers of the final Prophet, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )! How often the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) invoked blessing on little food, which was hardly sufficient for five individuals, and then it sufficed the whole army, numbering several hundreds, who ate meat and porridge to their fill, all made from one young she-goat and one sa‘ (about 3 liters) of barley!

Maryam and the dreams of a female:

Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, stayed in the mihrab of the mosque, which is a room in the mosque where the worshipper secludes himself from people. The children of Israel used to stay in mihrabs for retirement and worship. The mihrab was called as such because the person who resides therein is like a muharib (i.e. fighter) against people who keeps himself away from them. It may also refer to the lion's den.

I say: Maryam, who was pledged for the service of the House of Allah, the Exalted, had no feminine dreams for a husband, a mirror, or a cosmetics box. On the contrary, her dreams and aspirations were fully directed toward obedience and worship. Addressing her, the angels are quoted in the Quran as saying (what means): {O Maryam, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the Worlds. O Maryam, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer].} [Quran 3:42-43]
Thus, Maryam grew up as a devout worshipper who secluded herself in the mosque, enlivening her nights with thikr (i.e. remembrance of Allah through glorification, praise, and supplication), worship, and prayer and passing her days in fasting. She just lived for the Hereafter.

The great ordeal of Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention:

Maryam, the worshipper, the ascetic, and the virgin, faced a tough ordeal, represented in the news given to her by Allah Almighty about a boy to whom she would give birth, even though she was unmarried. Thereupon, she, as revealed in the Quran, said (what means): {"How can I have a boy while no man has touched me…?"} [Quran 19:20] She tried to stave this off, but the divine command came: {Thus [it will be]; your Lord says: "It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed."} [Quran 19:21]

Allah Almighty decided and decreed this, and none can ever oppose His decision or prevent His decree. There is a great wisdom behind producing this miracle to the people: a righteous, worshipping woman is facing the trial of conceiving without a husband, and the truthful, believing people believe her, whereas the evil-doing disbelievers belie her. Her son, whom Allah has decreed to be by this miraculous manner, was a sign in terms of his creation, character, and the miracles performed through him. He was a mercy for the people both in his time and thereafter, and a trial for those lacking insight who go to extremes with respect to him; so they worship him, regard him as a creator, a sustainer, a manager of people's affairs, existent before time existed, and a god who came from a god, yet born in human nature. Far exalted is Allah above what they say. Indeed, ruined are those who regard him as an outcome of zina (i.e. fornication), as well as those who regard him as the God and the Creator. On the other hand, only those who are truthful and affirmers of the truth with regard to him will attain salvation. He, may Allah exalt his mention, is quoted in the Quran as saying (what means): {"Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive, and [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is upon me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive."} [Quran 19:30-33]

Maryam fled the mosque for fear of scandal and shame:

Then, Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, came out of her mihrab in Baitul-Maqdis after her belly grew bigger due to conception, and after she feared a scandal. She went to a faraway place where she could conceal herself from people. Then, in Bethlehem, the pains of labor drove her to the trunk of a palm tree, alone and far from her home. There, she gave birth, with no help extended by a mother, an aunt, or a midwife. She had no warm house or shelter where she could hide from the eyes of people, apart from those tangled shrubs. She delivered her baby, with tears streaming profusely from her eyes, and distress and pain engulfing her. She was grieved by her loneliness, estrangement, loss of her relatives and supporters, lack of shelter, and the compassion shown to a mother after giving birth. In this state, the mother needs compassion, warm feelings, the affection of a husband, the kindness of relatives, special food and a bed, as well as congratulations for her soundness and for the newborn. As for Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, she had nothing of the sort. In addition, she awaited a scandal because of her baby.

With all this distress and trouble combined, she wished that she had already died before this hard trial. She is quoted in the Quran as saying (what means): {"Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten."} [Quran 19:23]

At that moment, when grief and sorrow reached the maximum limit; security, tranquility, glad tidings, and compassion came to her. Her newborn baby called out to her from below her, saying (what means): {"Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say: 'Indeed, I have vowed to The Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.'"} [Quran 19:24-26]

Indeed, with hardship comes ease:

At that moment, miracles came to her all at once. There was a small stream which Allah Almighty caused to flow for her, and she, in that state of weakness due to the delivery, managed to shake the trunk of the palm tree, and then ripe, fresh dates dropped upon her. As for her people and the fear from a scandal, she was asked to leave this matter all to her Almighty Lord.

Moreover, she was ordered to abstain from speaking to people, and let this great master whom she carried shoulder the responsibility of defending her and demonstrating the mission with which he was sent. Allah Almighty says (what means): {Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said: "O Maryam, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste." So she pointed to him. They said: "How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?"} [Quran 19:27-29] Thereupon, Allah Almighty made him speak and illustrate the miracle of his creation to them in that way.

Then, ‘Eesa grew up among his people from the children of Israel who, instead of responding to the miracle with belief and faith, showed rejection and denial and expected evil from this baby who spoke in the cradle and grew up differently than all other boys. As boys played with mud and formed therefrom a sparrow of stone, he, on the other hand, would form a sparrow of mud and then breathe into it in front of them, after which it would turn into a living sparrow that could fly. They responded to this by accusing him of being a skillful magician.


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